My mentor, strengths coach Brent O’Bannon, loves to talk about BHAGs: James Collins and Jerry Porras’ famous acronym for big, hairy, audacious goals. Realizing your BHAG is all about daring to believe that your wildest dreams will come true, putting these dreams on paper, and designing a strategic plan that will allow them to come to life.
I’m proud to wave the BHAG flag. As of June, my big, hairy, audacious goal looked something like this:
Use my artistic talents (writing, theater, photography, music, and design) to position myself as an authority on art and activism while building a business that gives me the freedom to travel the world and work with communities to solve their problems using the Theatre of the Oppressed.
Sounds about right, though somewhere between June and October, I lost focus.
My problem isn’t defining my BHAG, it’s doing the damn thing, and much of the time I can’t help but feel there’s something in my way. This week, I finally figured it out. My BHAG is being terrorized by my BHAMs: big, hairy, ass-kicking monsters.
What are big, hairy, ass-kicking monsters, you ask? For me, they look a lot like this:
- Daily work “chores” like answering emails, organizing my calendar, and tidying up my mini-office
- Itty bitty bites of projects left over from the day before (or discovered in the emails I’ve brought myself to answer)
- Tedious client tasks that require little skill or creativity
- Cover letters and new client proposals
When I was a child, my BHAMs lived in my closet. (To this day, my parents swear they’re called “spiders” but that’s not what they looked like to me.) I realized this week that, as a grown-up business owner, today my BHAMs live in my mind (no door to shut there, unfortunately) where they feed on the tick of the clock. Each day that goes by makes these monsters bigger, hairier, and more aggressive. And the more I ignore my BHAMs, the harder it is to see my BHAG.
So I’ve decided to try something new: RKA Monster Takedown 2012.
I’m tired of tiptoeing around the monsters in my mind. I resolve to face my business’ big, hairy, ass-kicking monsters every single day. Judging by this week’s kick-off, morning works best for me. I have found that if I leave my BHAMs unattended for more than a few hours, they get restless and start wandering into my thoughts, begging for attention. (Have you ever tried to design a website with a big, hairy, ass-kicking monster doing jumping jacks right in front of you? It’s not easy, folks.) By the end of the day, the damn things are doing laps. Worse yet, they don’t stop running, even if I do (check my freaky dream journal).
I know now that the only way to effectively focus on my BHAG is to take on my BHAMs, like, now (and at the start of business every day). Little known fact about most BHAMs: they’re not as tough as they look. After only a couple of days of battling my monsters head on, I’ve discovered that BHAMs are mostly just fluff (hairy, remember?). Monsters I was sure would take hours or days to bring down disappeared within minutes! They only looked enormous because I fed them so much wasted time.
Party’s over, monsters. Consider this the last call. I’ve got some big, hairy, audacious goals to attend to!
Tip #24 for working with heart – attack your big, hairy, ass-kicking monsters now.